The Effect of Internet Security Breach Announcements on Market Value: Capital Market Reactions for Breached Firms and Internet Security Developers

Huseyin Cavusoglu, Birendra Mishra, and Srinivasan Raghunathan
International Journal of Electronic Commerce,
Volume 9, Number 1, Fall 2004, pp. 69.

Abstract: Assessing the value of information technology (IT) security is challenging because of the difficulty of measuring the cost of security breaches. An event-study analysis, using market valuations, was used to assess the impact of security breaches on the market value of breached firms. The information-transfer effect of security breaches (i.e., their effect on the market value of firms that develop security technology) was also studied. The results show that announcing an Internet security breach is negatively associated with the market value of the announcing firm. The breached firms in the sample lost, on average, 2.1 percent of their market value within two days of the announcement-an average loss in market capitalization of $1.65 billion per breach. Firm type, firm size, and the year the breach occurred help explain the cross-sectional variations in abnormal returns produced by security breaches. The effects of security breaches are not restricted to the breached firms. The market value of security developers is positively associated with the disclosure of security breaches by other firms. The security developers in the sample realized an average abnormal return of 1.36 percent during the two-day period after the announcement-an average gain of $1.06 billion in two days. The study suggests that the cost of poor security is very high for investors.

Key Words and Phrases
: Capital markets, event study, information technology security, information technology security management, Internet security, security breach announcements.